BENDIGO Jockey Club will lobby industry officials and Racing Minister Denis Napthine to have the status of its cup increased to a Group 3.
The club believes winners of the Geelong and Bendigo cups should be guaranteed a start in the Melbourne Cup, the Herald Sun reports.
Lloyd Williams' Excluded - 42nd in the Melbourne Cup order of entry - has been scratched from today's Listed Bendigo Cup and will race in Saturday's Lexus Stakes at Flemington in bid to win and gain automatic entry to Tuesday's Cup.
Bendigo president Brendan Drechsler said today's winner could expect a penalty for the Melbourne Cup but admitted there was confusion after last week's Geelong Cup winner, Gatewood, received only a 1kg penalty, leaving the English stayer unlikely to make Tuesday's field.
"I believe we can showcase Victorian provincial racing at its very best with the Geelong Cup one Wednesday and the Bendigo Cup the next Wednesday," Drechsler said yesterday.
"Both races should be exempt from ballot for the Melbourne Cup."
Drechsler was surprised the Ciaron Maher-trained Moudre, 25th on the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup, had not tried to get a penalty by racing in today's 2400m cup, rather than waiting for the Lexus.
He said a ballot-free Bendigo Cup six days before the Melbourne Cup would be a more attractive race than the Lexus three days before the Cup.
Read more at the Herald Sun.